Ditch the tourist resorts of Cancún and embark on an authentic adventure that will take you from spectacular Mayan ruins to the cobblestoned streets of colonial towns and deep into the jungle of Mexico. Explore the ancient ruins at Chichén Itzá and Palenque and meet the descendants of those who built them in the vibrant streets and colourful markets of picturesque Mayan towns. Get your camera out — you’re going to need it!
Your G for Good Moment: Posadas Mayas Homestay, San Juan La Laguna
Your Discover Moment: Mérida
Your Discover Moment: San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Chichén Itzá guided tour. Mérida orientation walk. Palenque guided tour. Roberto Barrios waterfall visit. San Cristóbal de las Casas orientation walk. Lake Atitlán boat tour. Antigua orientation walk. Free time in Mérida and San Cristóbal de las Casas. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore the ruins of Chichén Itzá and Palenque, get lost wandering colonial San Cristobal de las Casas and Antigua, cool off with a swim at Roberto Barrios waterfall, bargain at colourful local markets
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. When exiting Mexico by land you will be required to pay an exit fee of 533MXN, and to enter Guatemala the fee is 10 Quetzales, a total of just over 30 USD. These fees are not included in the cost of your trip and must be paid in local currency at the border.
2. The Guatemala City airport is only 1 hour from Antigua and there are frequent and inexpensive transfers directly to the airport from Antigua.
3. This tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, private vehicle, boat.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (7 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), homestay (1 nt).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Mexico exit tax by land: 533MXN (USD35)
Mexico airport departure tax: None (Passenger must present the receipt from entry tax, or may be subject to additional charges)
Guatemala entrance tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Guatemala airport exit tax: Included in ticket price
Border Fees must be paid in full at the time of entry and exit and are subject to change without prior notice.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Anthropology Museum Visit (55MXN per person)
- Cuzama Cenote Visit (45USD per person)
- Day Trip to Progreso Beach (4USD per person)
- Uxmal Ruins Visit (800MXN per person)
- Jungle Trail Hike (25USD per person)
- BBQ Lunch (30USD per person)
San Cristóbal de Las Casas
- Lagunas de Montebello Visit (30USD per person)
- Indigenous Villages Tour (25USD per person)
- Sumidero Canyon (20-25USD per person)
- Finca Valhalla Visit (5-10USD per person)
- Elizabeth Bell Walking Tour (25USD per person)
- Massage (30-60USD per person)
- Salsa Lesson (5-12USD per person)
- ChocoMuseo Tour and Workshop (24USD per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
PRODUCT_LINE: CMTM, ID: 22834
Day 1 Playa del Carmen
As travellers arrive throughout the day, there are no planned activities until the welcome meeting in the evening.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Playa del Carmen/Mérida
Depart Playa del Carmen and head to the famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá for a guided tour. Spend time exploring this famous site, known for its huge stepped pyramids and elaborate stone carvings.
Continue on to Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán State, and take a short orientation walk. Also known as la ciudad blanca (the white city), Mérida offers the ideal opportunity to learn about Mexico’s fascinating mix of cultural influences.
Chichén Itzá Guided Tour
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 190km)
Private Vehicle (1.25-2.00 hours, 130km)
Day 3 Mérida
The area surrounding Mérida has tons to offer. Choose to visit nearby cenotes (water sink holes) in the town of Cuzamá. Inside, swim in the massive crystal-clear sinkholes. Transportation to the cenotes is half the fun, taking small wooden horse-drawn carts along old rail tracks.
Opt to visit ruins in Uxmal, ride the PUUC Route or go bird-watching. There’s something for everyone.
Day 4 Mérida/Palenque
After a long day of travel, arrive to Palenque. Enjoy a 2-night stay inside the national park in a jungle lodge. The lodge is quite close to the town, the ruins and the museum and offers a restaurant and bar on the grounds.
First-class buses in Mexico have very strong air-conditioning. Bring a sweater.
First-class bus (9.00-10.00 hours, 620km)
Day 5 Palenque
Enjoy a guided tour of the Mayan ruins of Palenque. After, go for a swim in the pristine turquoise waters of Roberto Barrios waterfall.
Palenque Ruins Guided Tour
Roberto Barrios Waterfalls
Day 6 Palenque/San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Continue out of the jungle to San Crístóbal De Las Casas, located in a high mountain valley at 2110m (6921 ft). Enjoy an orientation walk of the city, known for its 16th century architecture.
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 220km)
Day 7 San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Opt to visit nearby indigenous Mayan villages to see their unique day-to-day life or journey to beautiful Sumidero Canyon for a relaxing boat ride.
Day 8 San Cristóbal de Las Casas/Panajachel
The first stop in Guatemala is on beautiful Lake Atitlán. Stay in Panajachel, a lakeshore town surrounded by spectacular volcanoes and small villages.
Border Crossing (Mexico – Guatemala)
Private Vehicle (10.00-12.00 hours, 380km)
Day 9 Panajachel/San Juan La Laguna (1D)
Embark on a boat ride across the lake before participating in a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. This area is known for stunning scenery and great shopping for Mayan handicrafts. Opt to bargain for colourful textiles and paintings at the lake’s many villages.
Posadas Mayas Homestay
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Day 10 Antigua
With so much to do in this charming colonial city, we highly recommend booking post accommodation. Optional activities for the area include a city tour, salsa dancing classes, a Guatemalan cooking class, or relaxing with a massage. Further afield you can rent bikes and ride through the hills, visit a macadamia nut farm or check out some nearby villages.
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 11 Antigua Guatemala
We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this charming city.
Guatemala City is a one hour transfer away. Your tour leader can help you to arrange a transfer from Antigua directly to the airport in Guatemala City, so you do not have to spend more time than necessary in Guatemala’s capital.